Pelicans training camp preview: Do the Pels have enough shooting?

New Orleans Pelicans guard Devonte' Graham (4) and center Jonas Valanciunas (17) and forward Herbert Jones (5) Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Pelicans guard Devonte' Graham (4) and center Jonas Valanciunas (17) and forward Herbert Jones (5) Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Orleans Pelicans made the playoffs last season, but they had a losing record overall and still had some major flaws.

One of them was 3-point shooting, as the Pels were one of the worst teams in the NBA, coming in 27th in the league in 3-point percentage and dead last in the league in 3-pointers made per game.

The Pels were just behind the Pacers and Wizards (two terrible teams) and just ahead of bottom feeders Orlando, Detroit, and Oklahoma City in 3-point percentage, while the top-12 teams in this category all had winning records and at least made the play-in.

New Orleans’ offense should be more explosive next season with the addition of Zion Williamson, but the Pels haven’t done anything to address their woeful 3-point shooting, which is why they’ve been mentioned in recent trade rumors for shooters.

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With Zion, Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas all hanging around in the paint and mid-range, it’s fair to ask if the Pelicans have enough 3-point shooting to unclog the middle.

New Orleans Pelicans: Top 3-point shooters

There were really only two knockdown 3-point shooters on the Pelicans last season in CJ McCollum and Trey Murphy III. Here are New Orleans’ top 3-point shooters, their percentage and attempts:

  • CJ McCollum: 39%, 7 attempts
  • Trey Murphy III: 38%, 3 attempts
  • Jonas Valanciunas: 36%, 2 attempts
  • Jaxson Hayes: 35%, .8 attempts
  • Devonte’ Graham: 34%, 7.4 attempts
  • Herb Jones: 33%, 2.2 attempts
  • Brandon Ingram: 32 percent, 4.1 attempts

Not only did New Orleans not have many accurate 3-point shooters, but they weren’t even taking many of them, as only McCollum and Graham could be called volume 3-point shooters.

The Pels are really only adding Zion and Dyson Daniels to this group, so any improvements are going to have to be internal. The Pelicans will need improvement from Graham, Jones and Ingram, as well as guys like Jose Alvarado and Naji Marshall, who were both under 30 percent.

They will also need more volume out of Murphy III and Ingram, two guys who can hit them but were only taking seven attempts per game between them.

We know what we’re going to get out of McCollum, who has been as consistent as any shooter in the league over his career, but everyone else is a big question mark in terms of both accuracy and attempts.

New Orleans should have an explosive offense even without a ton of 3-point shots, but with Zion coming back, space is going to be at a premium, so the Pelicans need to shoot and hit more from long range to open things up.

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